Nvidia claims Moore’s law is dead…for CPUs

Nvidia’s chief scientist has claimed that Moore’s law is no longer applicable to the silicon world of CPUs.

“We have reached the limit of what is possible with one or more traditional, serial central processing units, or CPUs. CPU performance no longer doubles every 18 months. And that poses a grave threat to the many industries that rely on the historic growth in computing performance,”  Bill Dally explained in a Forbes column.

“The good news is that there is a way out of this crisis. Parallel computing can resurrect Moore’s Law and provide a platform for future economic growth and commercial innovation. The challenge is for the computing industry to drop practices that have been in use for decades and adapt to this new platform.”

According to Dally, there is a “critical need” to build energy-efficient parallel computers – or throughput computers – in which numerous processing cores, each optimized for efficiency, not serial speed, work together on the solution of a problem. 

“[But] more importantly, parallel computers, such as graphics processing units, or GPUs, enable continued scaling of computing performance in today’s energy-constrained environment. Every three years we can increase the number of transistors (and cores) by a factor of four.”

However, Dally acknowledged the path towards parallel computing would not be easy.

“After 40 years of serial programming, there is enormous resistance to change, since it requires a break with longstanding practices. Converting the enormous volume of existing serial programs to run in parallel is a formidable task, and one that is made even more difficult by the scarcity of programmers trained in parallel programming.”